Advanced directives – a call to action!
I have been a nurse for over 15 years now – most of it spent in critical care areas. I have seen lots of people expire and pass on. Often it is a sad moment – a life taken too soon. There are also those rare deaths that are just beautiful – a peaceful transition. But, the saddest and hardest part for me is not the death, but it is when the family is left with decisions they were not prepared to make. In our society we are not accustom to speaking about death – its very taboo. We all know it is going to happen, however, we just don’t want to talk about it. So, sadly, what often happens is a loved one becomes critically ill and end of life decisions need to be made. Hopefully, those critical conversations have been had, and the decisions are clear. But, unfortunately, that is not always the case. Often, loved ones are left with the pressing question, “what would they have wanted?”. It is heart wrenching to watch a child have to make those decisions for an aging parent.
Today is National Healthcare Decision Day – this day was set aside to encourage people to speak up and have those conversations! It is reported that 90% of Americans have thought about end of life decision, however only 29% actually have a living will. It starts with a conversation. When you are unable to speak, who will speak for you? Will they know what to say?
Today is the day to have the conversation.
A call to action!
- Think about what decisions you would want at the end of your life.
- Decide on a Substitute Decision Maker and talk with them about your decisions.
- Talk to you other family members so they know how you feel also.
- Write it down! Although it is not iron clad – at least your wishes will be known. These are often referred to as “advanced directives”.
- Tell your health care provider.
For more information please visit http://www.nhdd.org/ for more information and tips. There are also copies of advanced directive forms under the public relations link.
Leave me a comment if you were called to action! Be brave and take this loving step for your family!
Please share with everyone you know!